NOTE: This is a forwarded message from an associate of mine who I
knew would be quite interested in such a theory. This is what she
had to say in response to the celtic-persecution theory.
Well, first off, I would like to know if this fellow could name a few of
books he read. If I agree or not, it is always nice to hear one's
When talking about Celts or Celtic tribes, it is important to define who
you mean. There were Celtic tribes ALL over Europe. Today, we
think of the Celts in Britain and Ireland; they often had other names on
the continent. SO I think some clarity on who this fellow means is
I think that saying Julius Caesar "ONLY" "set about the systematic
and dominance of western Europe" because he saw the Celts (and I'm
he means Celts in France and Spain) is far too sweeping. I have no
part of the reason Caesar did his conquering was to secure the
But that is certainly not the "ONLY" reason. COnsider those classic
for conquering territory -- land to expand and material resources. You
can see that this a more complex issue.
It is certainly true that the only written records we have of the Celts (in
Britain anyway) are from literate cultures who interacted with these
And of course, cultural bias will be present.
But the upshot of Roman advancement was not "conquer and
destroy" but rather
"conquer and rule." Peoples conquered by the Romans had to pay
with goods and slaves, but in return they received many benefits of
civilization: use of coinage, growth of towns, roads, etc. Life was
perhaps not a bed of roses under Roman rule, but they did not seek to
subjugate the social customs of the Celts; for example, they allowed
a moderate amount of religious freedom. Nonetheless, because it
"home" rule and because it was far more oppressive than the Celtic
it was despised.
I definitely agree that the Romans were clever in making the Brittanic
fight each other (and that it didn't require much effort). They're still
it 1900 years later, after all . . .
To say that the Normans conquered Britain due to being influenced by
dislike of the Celts seems unjustified. The Roman Empire had, for all
and purposes, disintegrated around 400 AD (not counting Byzantium,
entirely another debate); this is over 600 years before the Norman
of 1066. I for one would NEVER minimize the legacy that the Romans
behind, but I don't think their dislike of the Celts was something that
influenced William the Conqueror to attack Harold Godwinson; rather,
desire for new lands, and to a certain extent, pride over a promise
made by Edward the Confessor (again, here we could start a whole
At the time of William's victory, England was a conglomerate of
a melange of Angle, Saxon, Jute, Dane, and Celt. And while the
perhaps the dominant force in 1066, the Danes were running a close
don't forget that a scant few weeks before the Battle of Hastings,
Godwinson fought a tumultuous battle at Stamford Bridge with Harold
SOme historians say that this, not Hastings, was the turning point in
The acclimation of Normans to Saxons took a long time, but it is
agreed that by the time of Henry II and Becket, the Normans and
beginning to think of themselves more as "English" than as seperate
My point in this tangent is simply this: the Normans had things on
mind other than "let's get rid of those nasty Celts like the Romans
us to do."
As far as Pope Gregory, the same principle holds true. Perhaps
randy Irish out of trouble was a MINOR factor in ceding Ireland to
but my opinion is he did this to consolidate Catholic lands in Britain.
And one conglomerate (England/Ireland) was a lot less troublesome
two. (as an aside, if this is the same Gregory who had so much
at Canossa and with the Holy Roman Emperor, he probably didn't
far away Britain overmuch.)
Northern Ireland vs the Scots -- this is far too complicated an issue to
resolve in a mere paragraph, but here's what happened: the English
(this case, Elizabeth I in the very late 1500's and shortly before she
in 1603; and James I as well) gave lands in northern Ireland to their
Protestant subjects. It didn't matter that those lands for the most part
already belonged to Irish people; they had to move out/off and make
the new landlords, period.
I hardly think Elizabeth would have considered herself a "Roman"
considering that her father Henry VIII broke rather violently to marry
her mother, Ann Boleyn, and begin the Church of England. Indeed,
this set the
precedent of the British monarch being the head of the COE
I think the northern Irish that were kicked off their lands were
merely for that reason, and those transplanted English/Scots fought
retain those same lands. Sorry, nothing to do with Rome at all!
Most of my information comes from the following: The History of
Sir George Clark; A History of World Societies by Robert McKay; The
Illustrated History of the British Monarchy by Cannon and Griffith; and
1066: Year of the Conquest (yikes, cannot remember the author).
Hope this is helpful!!
I hope this isn't taken as a flame, but an insightful response. I would
hate for us to fall under the grip of celtic-centrism.
wc res. prog spe.
Child & Fam Dev.